The sun sets on IBC 2016
WORLD: Amsterdam hotel prices slumped back to their usual levels as the doors closed on IBC 2016. The International Broadcasting Convention is the biggest event to be hosted at the RAI Exhibition Centre all year round, even requiring the construction of temporary areas such as Hall 14 as it has outgrown the site in recent years. While we await the official attendance figures to be released from the organiser, the general feeling on the show floor across the first four days was that traffic appeared slightly down on last year. Despite this, there was a definite feeling of confidence, with many of the exhibitors that Pro Audio Central quizzed highly commendable of the quality of visitors to the show.
While the overall theme of IBC 2016 was undoubtedly interoperability and the continued march towards full-IP workflows, with smatterings of new technologies such as 8K, the show was also notable for the volume of acquisition and partnership announcements. Over in Hall 10 and surrounded by the likes of TSL Communications, RTS, LaON Technologies and Jünger Audio was Clear-Com, which just prior to the show announced a strategic acquisition of Trilogy Communications, intended to augment its existing catalogue.
‘Trilogy’s been a well-known and well-respected competitor of Clear-Com for many years in two of our core market areas, the broadcast business and in the military aerospace and government sectors,’ offered Clear-Com CEO Bob Boster from the show floor. ‘We’ve known about their products and what they have to offer for a number of years. Actually, at last year’s IBC we opened up communication with them just to sort of see what was going on over there. They’re two very complementary product lines in that they have an expertise and focus in a lower size matrix offering, but another very important component is that they have a certified solution for Red-Black communications, which is the requirement for military and aerospace communications where you might want to maintain secret and non-secret communications on the same system. That is something that we’ve wanted to have in our product offering for a long time.’
Traffic in Hall 10 was also buzzing around the Riedel stand following news that the German comms manufacturer had also acquired ASL Intercom on the strength of its analogue intercom products, and German brand Delec, drawing from the expertise of its engineering team. Meanwhile, the company launched its MediorNet Control App for the RSP-2318 SmartPanel.
The theme of acquisitions carried over to Hall 1, where Belden was celebrating the purchase of fibre-optic cabling company, Gepco, on a massive Grass Valley booth. ‘We’re sharing a booth with Grass Valley and we’re very excited to be here with them. It’s nice to see it all here in one place,' enthused Belden's Tim Shoulders on the Grass Valley booth. 'Of course, the big news this week is that Belden has acquired Gepco.’
Sandwiched in between Halls 8 and 10 was the newly-finished Hall 9. Occupied largely by SAM – Snell Advanced Monitoring – the exhibitor was pleased with the location flowing initial trepidation. ‘We were in Hall 7 last year, which was very overcrowded and got very hot. The RAI built this additional hall but they struggled for quite a while to find an occupant,’ said SAM’s head of product marketing, Tim Felstead. ‘Our company is doing very well and we were looking to expand, we wanted more space to show more products and have more customers here. So we um’d and ah’d for a very long time before eventually decide to go for it, but it was considered quite a risk. Actually, it’s served us incredibly well. People passing between Halls 10/11 and 8 go straight past us, the air conditioning’s new and there’s no sun directly on the roof because of the car park above. So it’s much cooler in here and it’s been a great experience. We’ll be here every year if we can.’
Visitors stepping into Hall 8 looking for the latest audio announcements could be forgiven for thinking it was still 2015. With most companies sporting the same booth designs as last year and at the same locations, there was a very familiar feel. One big change, however, was the large Blackmagic Design logo adorning the Fairlight Booth following the annoucement on Friday morning that an acquisition between the two Australian companies had been completed. As elsewhere, the general mood in Hall 8 was that overall traffic was slightly down but business in general had been better than ever, and customers arriving on booths were the right type. There were seemingly fewer questions in people’s minds about the future of the broadcast industry and indeed the show itself. However, we’ll have to wait for the official announcement to see if that is borne out in the numbers.